Karachi: Senior Sindh Vice President of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Zahra Shahid Hussain was killed outside her residence by two motorcyclists here in DHA in the limits of Gizri police station on Saturday.
The murder took place on the eve of re-polling in 43 polling stations in NA-250 where the atmosphere had remained tense for several days.
Police initially said it was apparently an act of ‘mugging and street crime’ as the armed persons ‘tried to snatch a purse from Zahra Shahid’, who was in her 60s, and, on resistance, fired a single shot under her chin, killing her instantly.
However, the police subsequently said they were investigating the matter further in the light of statements alleging that it was a target killing.
SSP South Zone Nasir Aftab claimed that two armed men came to the residence of the PTI leader and tried to snatch her purse when she was entering her home in Defence Phase 4.
“On her resistance, one of the robbers fired a single bullet under her chin, seriously wounding her and later she died at the National Medical Centre,” he added.
Following the incident, Zahra Shahid was rushed to the National Medical Centre (NMC) near Kalapul where doctors pronounced her dead upon arrival.
SP Sarfraz Nawaz said police have collected the empty casings of bullets fired on her and sent them for forensic analysis while footage of CCTV cameras installed outside homes in the area was also being obtained to get a clue to the attackers.
The SSP also claimed that initial investigation and statements of the driver and daughter of Zahra Shahid indicated that it was an act of mugging but said police were investigating the crime from all dimensions.
Police said the driver of the deceased PTI leader and her daughter were also being consulted to identify the killers but they reported to police that the killers were wearing helmets, making it difficult for them to identify them.
The body of the deceased PTI leader was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) from the NMC for legal formalities while no case was registered by the police till the filing of this report.
PTI leaders, including its candidate for National Assembly constituency NA-250 Dr Arif Alvi and spokesman in Karachi Jamal Siddiqui, condemned the killing of the party’s founder member Zahra Shahid Hussain and demanded of the law enforcing agencies to arrest the killers.
Dr Alvi criticised the caretaker provincial government and law enforcing agencies for their failure to protect citizens and political leaders and said the entire Clifton, Defence areas were being terrorised by armed terrorists prior to re-polling in the constituency on Sunday.
A large number of PTI workers and supporters, family friends, especially women wing leaders, converged on the residence of Zahra Shahid and condemned the killing of their leader.
Leaders of different political parties, including the PML-N’s Salim Zia, also reached the NMC and condemned the killing of the woman leader. They demanded of the police to investigate and nab the killers at the earliest.
PTI leader Firdous Shamim told reporters outside the residence of Zahra Shahid that her killing was an act of target killing as she offered her purse and mobile to the attacker but he fired two bullets under her chin, killing her instantly.
Firdous Shamim said that Zahra Shahid was a mother figure for party members, and a former teacher at the Karachi University and a popular figure among PTI workers.
Widespread condemnations poured in from people from all sections of society on the brutal murder of Zahra Shahid Hussain and they termed it as an unfortunate incident and failure of the state to protect its citizens.